High hopes for Sukma athletes to deliver

|     James Kon     |

BRUNEI Darussalam’s athletes are expected to deliver their best and win medals for the country at the 19th Sukma Games in Perak.

This was said by the Chef De Mission of Brunei Darussalam Hajah Noor Maslina binti Haji Sulaiman in an interview yesterday at the Brunei International Airport, which saw the departure of lawn bowling and cycling athletes to Perak.

“The athletes are looking to beat their personal best and hopefully try to win medals for the country. I believe that the selected athletes are the best of the best because it is not easy to get selected. I have high hopes the athletes can do their best to win medals for the country,” she said.

“Some of the athletes started training a year ago, while others have competed in the recent Brunei Darussalam National Games, Southeast Asian Games as well as the Asian Games. So they have gained exposure in competitions. This will be a good base for the athletes to improve their performance.”

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin was also present to see off the athletes and give advice.

Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Seri Awang Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin with the athletes and other officials at the Brunei International Airport yesterday. – JAMES KON

Also in attendance were Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports Datin Paduka Dr Hajah Norlila binti Dato Paduka Haji Abdul Jalil, Acting Director of Youth and Sports Haji Zafri bin Haji Mohamed, as well as the ministry’s senior officers.

Coach of the road race cycling team Reduan bin Yusof expressed confidence in his team revealing that they have been training since July.

“We have been in training since the Hari Raya period and were focussing on 10 riders, and we managed to select the best riders for Sukma. I am really confident that my boys will do well. It will also depend on our luck because other teams have done their training camp overseas,” he said.

“We are taking part in five events namely road race for individual and team, downhill, cross country and Criterium race. We have six riders taking part.”

The cycling team, led by Reduan and mountain bike race coach Haji Hamdani bin Haji Awang Besar, include Muhammad Azwar bin Muhammad Hairulrani, Arif Rafie bin Amir Hamzah, Amiruddin bin Haji Mohammad Amir, Muhammad Aziz bin Abdul Aziz, Muhammad Waie bin Abdullah and Muammad Al Qayyum bin Haji Aini.

The sole lawn bowling athlete to represent Brunei is Muhammad Nuh bin Jaafar, who will be competing in his first singles event.

Coach Md Azri bin Abdul Manaf said, “He has been training for few months and has competed in Kota Kinabalu in July. He participated in the triples event and won third place. We will try our best to get good results because the lawn bowlers in Malaysia are also well prepared.”

Muhammad Nuh shared that he wants to challenge himself to compete in the singles event and believes he can do his best.

“I want to try singles event because I have been competing in pairs and triples. It is very challenging to compete in singles because it depends on individual skills and intelligence. I will definitely do my best for the country,” the 18-year-old said.

This year, Brunei Darussalam contingent comprising 34 athletes and 21 officers will compete in nine sporting events namely lawn bowling, cycling, sailing, athletic, pencak silat, taekwondo, 10-Pin bowling, karate-do and wushu.

In the previous Sukma Games, Brunei managed to win one silver and three bronze medals.